The Sinking of the Haguro

On May 16, 1945, the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro, with Vice Admiral Shintaro Hashimoto and 1,200 crew and soldiers on board, left Penang and was heading north past Phuket to re-supply the Japanese forces in the Andaman Islands. The Japanese destroyer Kamikaze accompanied her. In stormy weather late that afternoon to the northwest of Phuket the Haguro encountered a squadron of five British torpedo destroyers under the command of the rather macho-named Captain Manley Power. The two Japanese ships attempted to make a run back to the protection of the Japanese naval base in Penang. The engagement began at dusk and throughout a stormy night of heavy squalls, high seas and vivid lightning storms, the ships fought it out in a dramatic high-speed chase (almost 50 knots). The Haguro, firing as she went, was slowed when a torpedo from the destroyer HMS Saumarez hit her. She was then hit again by a second torpedo from HMS Vigilant and sank later that night, bow first, some 55 kilometres short of Penang. The destroyer Kamikaze escaped. Fewer than 300 survivors were pulled from the choppy seas the next morning. Over 900 Japanese sailors perished, including Vice Admiral Hashimoto. This was the last Anglo-Japanese naval battle of the war and the only time that destroyers alone sank a heavy cruiser.
Japanese have cruiser Hague

A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region Second Edition

The response to the first edition has been very, very positive. Thankfully several readers and academics did respond to the author’s request in the introduction for further information or research on this relatively under-researched subject.

This new research has been used to tweak the information concerning the early Portuguese and European activities, plus some pirate activities in the region. However the two main areas where significant new research was used are:

  1. The activities of the Chinese triads in the later 19th century.
  2. The escape of Allied foreigners from Phuket at the time of the Japanese invasion in WWII.

The new information on the triad activities and particularly of the great triad massacre of over 400 fighters in 1879, was provided to the author by the lovely and generous Khoo Salma Nasution, President of the Penang Heritage Trust who has spent many years researching the subject. (For further information see her 2009 JMBRAS paper: “Hokkien Chinese on the Phuket Mining frontier”.

The new information on the escape of the allied personnel from Phuket in 1941 was facilitated by one Australian reader who kindly sent the author a copy of the wartime diary of Maj. Warren Parsons, who was the Australian appointed the allied leader for the evacuation of all allied personnel from Phuket. His diary of their armed escape during the Japanese invasion is not only a gripping tale but also clears up the previously somewhat ambiguous research on the topic that the author laments encountering for the first edition.

Free Sample Chapter

Download sample chapter about Phuket’s Heroine Sisters as a PDF: click here


The second edition is available now in ePub format. The print version will follow later this summer.

Some Exciting News

We are just about finished producing a second edition of “The History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region”, which will be available as a much requested eBook. More information coming very soon.